Lewis Hamilton Tops Friday Practice For 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton has emerged fastest in Friday Practice for 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. 

Hamilton entered this race sat level on points with Max Verstappen heading into this weekend’s title decider but it was first blood to Verstappen in FP1, albeit unrepresentative due to hotter conditions.

Hamilton however reigned supreme as dusk fell as he proceeded to top FP2 from Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and Valtteri Bottas.

Now here is a full roundup across FP1 and FP2 as teams also faced the tough prospect of getting to grips with a new track layout in Yas Marina.



(Image credit: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

With a new track layout to explore, several drivers were straight out on track as Ferrari conducted rear wing experiments, whilst Bottas set the initial benchmark of 1m 26.580 which was swiftly deleted for exceeding track limits at the final corner.

Hamilton consequently set the first proper lap time of 1m 27.148 but was swiftly usurped by Verstappen who posted 1m 26.463 to go fastest, although the Brit immediately responded to go top by 0.173 seconds but Alpine’s Fernando Alonso went quicker by 0.019s.

Verstappen meanwhile spent the first half of the session complaining about issues down the right side of his steering column and an “annoying” steering wheel, yet was able to go top with 1m 25.602 before eventually finding 0.593s to top FP1 with 1m 25.009.

Hamilton meanwhile managed to keep himself around three-tenths behind Verstappen for majority of second half of FP1, as he ended up 0.033s off his title rival but his quickest lap time was deleted for exceeding track limits which dropped him to third and 0.346s slower.

Bottas consequently took advantage of Hamilton’s error to finish FP1 in second and 0.196s off Verstappen, whilst Sergio Perez and Yuki Tsunoda rounded out the top five with 0.023s separating them from Hamilton in third.

Elsewhere, Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel both encountered spins at Turns Nine and 15 respectively in an otherwise quiet second-half of the session, as many teams focused on race simulations towards the end of the running.

Down at Williams, Jack Aitken replaced George Russell just for FP1 as part of his duties as Williams’ Reserve Driver and managed to finish 17th quickest, just 0.006s ahead of Nicholas Latifi who was 18th fastest.

Position Driver Team Time 
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1m 25.009
2 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes + 0.196
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes + 0.346
4 Sergio Perez Red Bull + 0.354
5 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri + 0.369
6 Fernando Alonso Alpine + 0.616
7 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri + 0.813
8 Charles Leclerc Ferrari + 0.837
9 Carlos Sainz Ferrari + 0.877
10 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin + 0.998
11 Esteban Ocon Alpine + 1.016
12 Lando Norris McLaren + 1.114
13 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo + 1.180
14 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo + 1.400
15 Lance Stroll Aston Martin + 1.599
16 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren + 1.667
17 Jack Aitken Williams + 2.472
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams + 2.478
19 Mick Schumacher Haas + 2.689
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas + 3.296



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Haas’ Mick Schumacher was first out on track as dusk descended across Yas Marina as majority opted for mediums except for both McLaren drivers, but it was Bottas who set the initial benchmark time of 1m 25.339 which was quickly bettered by Lando Norris then Hamilton.

Hamilton quickly lowered his time to 1m 24943 as Verstappen went 0.046s slower in second but the Dutchman’s time was deleted for exceeding track limits before then reclaiming second on his next flier from Ocon.

Hamilton however found more time as he posted a 1m 24.126 on his final flier on medium tyres ahead of Qualifying simulations, which Bottas initially topped with 1m 24.083 on his second flier as Hamilton fell 0.021s short.

Ocon however produced a surprise lap time just before the half-hour mark to go top with 1m 24.034 to lead Bottas, Hamilton and Verstappen, only for Hamilton to snatch the session-topping lap time in the 37th minute with 1m 23.691.

Race simulations meanwhile passed without incident but Mercedes and Red Bull looked to be sandbagging in terms of race pace, which sets up an intriguing season finale.

The red flag however was waved immediately after the checkered flag following a spin for Kimi Raikkonen through Turn 14 as he spun backwards into the barrier to prevent anyone from getting a chance for practice starts on the grid.

Position Driver Team Time 
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m 23.691
2 Esteban Ocon Alpine + 0.343
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes + 0.392
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull + 0.641
5 Sergio Perez Red Bull + 0.709
6 Fernando Alonso Alpine + 0.804
7 Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri + 0.841
8 Charles Leclerc Ferrari + 0.866
9 Carlos Sainz Ferrari + 1.153
10 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri + 1.249
11 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren + 1.268
12 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo + 1.417
13 Lando Norris McLaren + 1.462
14 Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin + 1.504
15 Lance Stroll Aston Martin + 1.694
16 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo + 1.749
17 George Russell Williams + 1.858
18 Nicholas Latifi Williams + 1.996
19 Mick Schumacher Haas + 2.093
20 Nikita Mazepin Haas + 2.645

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